A woman’s place in the world? How about shooting photos of her friends with a vintage Hasselblad from the back of Harley. Or, at least, that’s the place Portland-based photographer Lanakila MacNaughton has chosen. MacNaughton decided to turn her lens in order to create “The Woman’s Motorcycle Exhibit: The Real Women Who Ride," which showcases the beautiful female riders she knows. Besides being photographically stunning, the collection expands our cultural understanding of women who ride—which is to say, not just sexy-bikini-ladies slathered in salad oil straddling parked bikes. As MacNaughton notes in the project’s introductory video: “It’s not like I’m trying to bash men, or create a ruckus, or piss people off.”
In fact, the whole project exists in no relation to men whatsoever. Imagine that.
“Allison showed up on a custom Harley Sportster and vintage goggles. I knew the shots were going to be incredible because she looked like a women rider out of the 1930's except she was on a Harley Sportster. We had an amazing backdrop in Delaware with huge rows of cornfields and long open roads. I told Allison to get as close as she could to my lens so I could get her in complete focus with the corn fields blurred out.”
“Chevy is an extremely talented hairstylist in Hollywood. She was excited to shoot and brought amazing wardrobe and picked the location. We brought some rolling tobacco, blankets and PBR, talked, took photos and laughed a lot. Love you Chevy!”
“When I little, my dad would point out motorcycles and make me promise to never get on the back of a boy's bike. I joke with him now that—technically—I kept that promise. I've still never ridden on the back. I've been through 6 states; my goal is to do all 50 in my lifetime.”
“Ginger rides a New Church Moto, an amazing custom leather seat upholstery line in Portland, Oregon. She loves to stunt and rides like hell. Ginger is a powerhouse and someone that embodies the free spirited, fearless women motorcyclist.”
“My relationship with motorcycles started glamorously in a propane-heated alley garage on the south side of Chicago while my new boyfriend customized his first bike. I spent one summer on the back and by the following winter, my SR was on the table before I knew how to ride it. Years later, I connect most with the simplicity of my bike and the mindfulness it has brought me.”
“Marie is 20 years old and risks her life everyday on the Los Angeles freeways. I asked her to pick a location. Griffith Observatory was in the neighborhood. The huge white observatory acted as a reflector and allowed for the helmet to get a nice gradation of light and color. The helmet Marie wears in this shoot is Biltwell. Marie was a joy to photograph.”
“Stormie Ray is one of the first women that I rode with when I first started riding. Stormy embodies a courageous liberated, independent female rider. Stormie has been riding for 20 years and is extremely comfortable on the bike and is so fun to photograph. She was the first woman I photographed to kick off the exhibition. Thank you, Stormie.
“Summer is a hair stylist, snowboarder and motorcyclist. She told me she grew up snowboarding and loved catching air over trucks on her snowboard. I showed up to Summer’s house and she had a black stripper pole in her living room, a tarantula and an assortment of handguns. As soon as we drove onto Melrose Road, she was standing up on her seat: laughing, smiling and blowing me kisses. Summer deserves her own movie.”
“Tamara Raye is a musician, motorcyclist and total bombshell and genius. Tamara works at Disneyland as an engineer for roller coasters. I told Tamara I wanted to do a military themed shoot and she showed up dressed to kill and ready to ride. These photos were taken in back of the motorcycle swap meet in Long Beach California last April.”
Lanakila MacNaughton is a photographer and motorcyclist based in Oregon. For more incredible photos of the new wave of female riders, check out the Women's Moto Exhibit website here and follow along on social media. This July, follow Lanakila as she and the Women's Moto Exhibit travel through the Alps, from Austria to Italy. Click here for a schedule of meet-ups and events along the route. (We're feeling pretty tempted by the Lake Lugano ride.)